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MovieLink and CinemaNow offer legal movie downloads

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 03 Apr 2006 15:32 User comments (20)

MovieLink and CinemaNow offer legal movie downloads MovieLink and CinemaNow have become the first two sources for legal movie downloads (not rental-based) in the United States. Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount, Sony Pictures, and Warner Brothers are backing MovieLink (interestingly, most are also joint owners). CinemaNow will be carrying Sony studio films. This experiment is being done very close to the studios, so it is not surprising that the prices seem ridiculously high.
To ensure that legal movie downloads pose little or no threat to retail DVDs, the prices have been set similar, or in many cases, higher. For example, classic movies would be priced around $13.99 (some will go for $9.99). Newer movies will sell for around the same price as retail DVDs. King Kong will be sold for $19.99 as a download while Amazon offers the retail DVD for $14.99. The pricing is not the only problem however.

The movies are protected by Microsoft's Windows Media DRM software. They will not be compatible with iPods or PSPs and consumers will also "not" be able to create a DVD-Video from these files to play back in a regular DVD player. Additionally, most downloads will not feature any additional "extras" like retail DVDs to. With all these facts in mind, it is hard to see the benefit of actually using either of these services.

A reason for the high pricing could be the studios attempting to avoid a price war that the music industry is currently facing with Apple. Overall, one could also speculate that the movie industry is answering criticism that it offers no real legal alternative to "Internet pirates" that the MPAA files lawsuits against. If you pirate a movie, you can either burn it directly as a DVD-Video, or you may have to encode it to create a DVD-Video. Neither of these services offer this possibility so how can they be expected to stop people from downloading illegally?

The movie industry needs to learn that on the Internet, full length movie downloads have been available for years. Consumers have become accustomed to certain things, such as the ability to encode their downloads to another format. Also, since downloading illegally is usually free of charge, setting retail DVD-like prices isn't going to turn people against piracy. It's fair to say that many consumers would be willing to turn to a service that offers the same abilities and qualities that pirating offers but at a low cost.

The movie studios however are not willing to sell content to consumers for low prices, even if they are digital downloads and not sales of physical products. Instead the idea is to target BitTorrent sites and file lawsuits against sharers in an attempt to stamp out piracy and gain control over movie distribution online. That tactic will likely never work. The movie studios need to learn to adapt to this "environment" and then offer something more consumer-friendly with costs that will compete with piracy. Of course, you can never beat free, but many Internet pirates cite ridiculous DVD prices for their actions - get the hint.

Ars technica

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20 user comments

13.4.2006 15:38

This is soooo stupid. I don't see how they can sell a single movie this way. You have to be incredibly, beyond belief stupid to buy this crap.

23.4.2006 15:40

Not as many people are willing to wait for a download so large especially when they are paying for it. -Mike

33.4.2006 15:47

Like the article said, they must be doing this to offer an "alternative" to illegally downloading movies. How can you charge $26.99 for a download of just the straight movie when you can buy the dvd for $10 less. Anybody with 56k would never be able to downlaod this and it would take a while for people with dsl/cable.

43.4.2006 16:02

If they sold movies on there that were still in the theaters then then they might get some buisness.

53.4.2006 16:26

wasnt advertising, i just posted the message i got when tried to acces the page you were talking in your article, in any case the advertising was made by the article, since i didnt even knew the site existed until i read in top of the article

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Apr 2006 @ 9:29

63.4.2006 19:31

not interested

73.4.2006 19:33

Wtf is this? did you charge them for the ad.

83.4.2006 19:51

It looks like the RIAA has some competition in the stupidest association on Earth department. This is pure greed and an incredibly poor answer to consumer demands. With crappy service and high prices like this, the movie industry is begging for "piracy". (Me thinks the people who come up with these prices are the real pirates.)

94.4.2006 0:11

ha hah ahah i've never heard of a business treating its customers in this way have they any idea that they are of little importance to peoples day to day lives dvds sales fall first when people dont have money for the nights out on the town they dont impulse buy dvd we can do without them they have an inflated opion of themselfs and if they continue with there business plan they will need to sue people just to cover costs

104.4.2006 4:02

What a ridiculous thing to do, that is almost as dumb or perhaps even more dumb than the UMD format, which is now going to be legacy, because no one wants it, just as no one is going to want this piece of..shall I say "poop"

114.4.2006 8:22

my mistake by ddp

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Apr 2006 @ 10:39

124.4.2006 8:38

from memoruy ddp, i dont think he was advertising, he was pasting a message given toi international users when u try to access one of the stores that basically said the servioce was only available in the United States.

134.4.2006 8:40

ooops, sorry!

144.4.2006 9:31

yes, i already tried to clear tthat up i was more than dissapointed when they didnt let me even browse through thei page i feel like i got banned just for not being in the us, i mean i dont mind if they dont let me buy the movies from not being in the us, but at least they could let me see whats going on.

154.4.2006 9:40

Again they dont get one will buy a digital downloaded DVD that cant be burned or copyed for full price....they totaly dont fing get it... 1.PRICE 5 for a copy protected Movie is not a bad deal and 20 for a "NEW" release is not to bad either in the end they make money and the costumers dont feel arse raped.... 2.They are goign to have to learn that they will never beable to fully protect the media someone will crack whatever they make they jsut have to make it to annoying for the comman man to do it. 3.heres an idea sell UDM and Ipod versions of the Moive with the DVD therefore there should not be a reason to "transcode it" altho they are to assinie to even try it..... 4.if the price is right you worry less about one time burning if you buy a to DVD downlaod thats only good for 1 burn for a price thats more or the same as a DVD how can you not feel riped off.....

164.4.2006 9:42

Dumb Q but I will goahead and ask,is there a way to edit your own comments in the enws sections? Soemtiiems I mess up or multi post? I dont mind mods doing it but if I can do it myself I could save them soem grife,thanks for any help ^^

174.4.2006 16:51

I would rather rent new releases for 1.15$ More cost effective, I have the release for 6 hours, more than enough time to go watch and return it.

184.4.2006 17:13

hot_ice How do you return a download? LOL :P Butyou have a point net flix is 18 a month forme 3 dvds at a time no limits no extra charges,however most anime ison more than 3 dvds and I like watching aniem in 10 hour marathons or more ;_; best I can do is decryped the DVD to the HD forget burning it I am to fing cheap to copy the DVD to a whole DVD is a waste of space >< and I have tried acoupel rippers they dont work so I have to leave 50GB free to store the data so I can watch the whole show ;_;

195.4.2006 7:47

This article just appeared our major newspapers. Why on earth would one pay $20 for a downloaded new release, when they can buy the real mccoy for the same amount?????? According to the article you are PERMITTED to burn a backup to play on "3 approved?" computers but not on a dvd player, because the protection. You really want that installed on your computers? Wait down the road, and I can buy 2 great movies for around $20 (store bought) Good old Universal has now packaged Seabiscuit and Cinderella Man together for April 25th release. When are these studios going to get it through their heads....lower their prices, and sell in volume?

205.4.2006 16:51

mackdl aint if funny tho they could sell it cheaper and mroe of it and not lose alot of money but yet they would rather constalty rape the costmers pissed them off and then sue them when they dont upgrade the "lease" 0-o *lease media as the MPAA just becuse you owen the DVD dose not mean you owen the data thats on it*

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

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